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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Morgan Wick: I should mention that an alternate explanation is that only some viewers are morons, so we have to write everything down to their level and insult the intelligence of everyone else. Morons tend to be whiny.

Ununnilium: Put a comment to that effect over in LCD.

Obsidian: I think I hit upon the answer: Viewers who watch mostly network television are indeed morons (how else do you explain the popularity of Survivor and other reality tv?) while those that watch primarily cable tend to be more intelligent (looking at the popularity of Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, and other such well-written, engaging shows). There are exceptions to each, of course, but by and large, I think that's a good rule of thumb.

Fast Eddie: Not sure why someone thought 555 had anything to do with this.

Ununnilium: Yeah, that seems more like Viewers Are Jerks.

Morgan Wick: There is no logical reason why someone would want to call a number just because he/she saw it in a TV show, even if that person was a jerk. It seems as though the rationale behind 555 is that someone will either a) call a number because he thinks he'll get whatever it was the number of in the show, in which case Viewers Are Morons who can't tell the difference between fiction and reality, or b) call a number just to see what's "really there", which isn't really the behavior of a jerk so much as... well, of an idiot, really.

Ununnilium: I disagree, since one of the main reasons - so I've heard - is preventing prank calls to said number. Whoever gets 867-5309 tends to get a lot of these, for instance.

  • You know, I find it really interesting that the entire continued existence of this meta-trope (though not its original emergence, mind) is actually mostly discredited by Stephen Johnson (in the book Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter). He argues that if you actually compare the most popular shows of today with the most popular shows of previous decades, the trend is strongly in favor of increasing complexity (Police Squad! was ahead of its time, in other words). Note though that even he acknowledges not all shows are "smart", but more of them are than people think. Yes, even a lot of reality TV.

C Trombley: How about this for a new or another opening quote: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people" often attributed to P.T. Barnum. Or the famous "There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em." first said by conman Paper Collar Joe.

Im a bell ...That Transformers example is likely making millions of nerds cry. "The Transformers"? Whoever posted that doesn't deserve to be on TV Tropes.
  • Yes, because a superfluous "the" is Serious Business. You could always, y'know, correct the mistake.

Maniakkid25: Nowadays, its not the viewers that are always the morons. And thats not even including Executive Meddling. Just watch a news station, and just wait for the stupid filler of the day. It will happen, guaranteed, or 20 bucks to you.


Andrew: I cut the Phil Gramm example. Look, I'm a wacked out liberal Democrat, but that really doesn't belong here.
The Mess: Why is this linked to the This Trope Name References Itself index? This article isn't listed on the index page itself.
Elihu: A complete overreaction to something that doesn't fit the trope. The third bullet explains pretty well how this is just needless bitching.

  • Seen on many TV stations in the form of those "You're now watching" messages after every single commercial break. "Oh, you're so kind to tell me the name of the show I'm watching, since I'm too dumb to remember it and too lazy to look it up myself."
    • The "Next" messages are even worse, since you've certainly seen the trailer during that very commercial break.
    • Um... aren't the "you're now watching" messages for people who channel surfed to the network during the commercial and don't know what's on, cost absolutely nothing to use, and just make life easier for all involved?
      • But pretty much all TV providers in this day and age have a program guide or "info" button to figure out what's on. Sure, there's no narrator telling you what's on, cradling you, and telling you everything's going to be alright, but hey, wouldn't kill ya to read a bit.
      • Not most cable companies, no.

The third bullet is Word of God and pretty well-known, making this again pretty much a pointless rant. Not everybody is well aquianted with the Fall of Man. Get over yourself.
  • When Metal Gear Solid 3 was released to western audiences, it had an unintentionally annoying explanation of the story of The Fall of Man from The Bible, when a character remarked about her name being Eva, and the protagonist being named Snake. Snake radios in to find out what she means.
    • This was likely an overreaction to the previous installment in the series, which went completely over the head of the average gamer.
      • Also, the story isn't as ingrained into the public consciousness in Japan, so it's at least somewhat justified there. Still could have been cut for the US release.
      • Also due to the Japanese audience, Volgin's "Kuwabara, Kuwabara" lines aren't commented on at all. It's actually an old saying meant to ward off lightning.

Cambdoranononononono: The show could easily have examples that I don't feel like thinking up, but this isn't a very good one because it relies on the false assumption that the elimination is always supposed to be surprising. It's particularly bad example because there was actually a joke about how obvious this one was in the same episode.
  • Total Drama Island has obvious eliminations. Say... when Noah didn't play dodgeball, we cut to him saying that he's going to sit out almost every time. Even more pain when every one throws balls at him, and MORE pain with the music. Cue the bonfire ceremony, and... OMG IT'S NOAH! HE GOT VOTED OFF HOW SHOCKING!!!!!


What is it called when the show's executive/PTB actually SAYS the viewers are morons in an interview?


Tipz: I cut these. The first one's not an example by the explanations that follow it. The second "more obvious" example isn't one either by the comment that follows that. The more thorough explanation is that a) Venice California is not the only other venice in the world and certainly is more obscure than venice italy and b) Marcus is a Cloudcuckoolander, so it makes perfect sense that Indie would have to spell out obvious things to him. The movie then just goes on with the joke for the viewer.

  • In the climax of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and his father make sure to repeat the word "penitent" several times, and then define the word — twice — just in case the audience still doesn't get it.
    • To be fair, the scene in question involves a riddle to which the precise definition of penitent is rather important (as in "you get sliced into tiny pieces if you get it wrong" kind of important).
    • Duck and roll forward.
      • Here's a more obvious example from the same movie; near the beginning, Indy tells Marcus that he needs to go to Venice, Italy, with emphasis on the "Italy." Minutes later, shots of canals and gondoliers are accompanied by subtitles clarifying that we are now in Venice, Italy, just to make certain that no one thought Indy was off to California.
      • I was always under the impression that that was a deliberate sight gag.


Does retitling titles of works due to trademark issues also count under this trope?